One thing that that frustrates me about the Walking Dead TV show is the constant debate on whether or not it’s worth it to continue living. Many of the plot arcs revolve around if they should keep trying to survive in a world that is so cruel or find a creative way to end it all. I get the idea, but it’s one that I think is pretty unique to our First World, western societies’ culture of excess. That we can’t imagine living without our iPads and foamy lattes and would rather off our selves at the first moment we had to do without. Humanity is better than that and Apocalypse writers often gloss over our will to survive.
We don’t have to look far to find real life examples. The Kony 2012 viral video has recently brought the horrors of the Christian terrorist group the Lord’s Resistance Army operating out of central Africa. With the LRA there are some examples of true horror not the fictional kind found in Walking Dead. Victims of Kony’s army have had children ripped out of mother’s arms, children kidnapped, killed or just disappeared, children forced to kill their parents and of course enough senseless murder to flood Uganda in blood but in Walking Dead the violence is written off because it was carried out by faceless, mindless zombies. In Uganda, Kony’s fighters are real, thinking people that were beating babies and slaughtering innocents in the “Lord’s” name. Yet in the LRA zone of operation there is no drive by people to kill themselves or commit mass suicides. All the people living under the LRA reign of terror want to do is survive.
Looking at another war torn conflict is the fractious civil war that ripped apart Liberia, a country on the coast of West Africa. In Walking Dead the killers of the living, the zombies, are quickly liquidated by a head shot but in now peaceful Liberia the killers, the rapists and the cannibals have moved back into society right next to those they raped, ate and pillaged.
While on the Daily Show, Nobel Prize winner, Leymah Gbowee encapsulated this when describing a story of a co-worker who lived through the war. This women describes how her son was killed in the war and the daughter left to a refugee camp. 10 years later she finds the daughter again and finds out that she has married a man in the camp and they have two children. When the mother sees a picture she discovers to her horror that the man her daughter married is the murderer of her son. The lost daughter living in the refugee camp had married her brother’s killer.
This is what real life victims have to deal with yet they survive, they live. Where as in Walking Dead they at least get to have a satisfying bullet to the brain of a zombie to end their feeling of being wronged yet at every turn, every episode, they debate wanting to off themselves because the world is too hard. I think living next to someone who killed your family and tried to kill you would be way more traumatic!
Stop your whining Walking Dead survivors!
Grow up people, in a fictional zombie filled universe!
And eat your peas! Children in Somalia are starving!
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